This is a super busy week on the school front – I have two midterms in my Fitness Assessment and Lifestyle Counselling class as well as my Psychology of Exercise class. Plus I have an assignment due on Thursday for my Business Management and Marketing class, so my plate is definitely full.
Thankfully I do have a few fun things planned for the weekend though. On Friday I'm going to Social Media Breakfast and then on Saturday I'll be spending the day at WordCamp YYC. I'll be learning about all things WordPress, which is the blogging platform I use. I'm looking forward to meeting some awesome people there.
Today I thought I'd share a few thoughts on why cool downs are such an important part of your workout. I know it's an easy thing to skip, but they really are crucial.
Lower your heart rate gradually // One of the most important functions of a cool down is to lower your heart rate slowly. Going from a high intensity workout to just being done is tough on your body. Instead of just heading to the change room, get on the treadmill or bike and walk/bike enough to get your legs moving but not putting much effort into it. Moving while lowering your heart rate will help your body recover from the workout.
Prevents blood pooling in your legs // Similar to slowly lowering your heart rate, cool downs also help to get blood back up to your heart. Veins carry blood from the body back to the heart, however, they need some help doing that. The blood is assisted in getting back to the heart by muscles contracting. For example, if you get on the treadmill for 10 minutes to walk as your cool down, it'll help the veins get the blood where it needs to go better than just ending your workout.
It's the perfect opportunity to stretch // I have yet to meet someone who loves to stretch. It's something that I definitely need to do more of, even though I know all the benefits of stretching. It's just not that fun.
However, cool downs are the perfect opportunity to incorporate stretching into your workout. Once you get into the habit of it, stretching will be automatic. Plus stretching should always be done while your muscles are warm – which is the case at the end of a workout.
Reflect on your workout // A cool down gives you some time to think about how your workout went, and what you would change or keep the same. Could you get another set of squats in? Increase your weight by 10 pounds on your leg press? Take the speed up on your treadmill runs by 0.5 miles?
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Do you always include a cool down in your workouts?